The Daily - June 11,2022 - 11

Renaissance
Man
Incomparable industry icon Larry Harrison
earns a Lifetime Achievement award at the
Inspiration Awards. By Helen Olsson
ON THURSDAY NIGHT OF THE
Show, timeless paragon of the
outdoor industry Larry Harrison
was presented with Outdoor
Retailer's Lifetime Achievement
award for his 50 years of dedication.
Over those five decades,
Harrison worked for Eagle
Creek, Wilderness Experience,
JanSport, Lowa, Rockport, Sierra
Designs, Adidas Outdoor, and,
most recently, Outdoor Retailer.
Harrison has the distinction of
having attended every Outdoor
Retailer show for the last 40
years-a total of 75 shows. That's
a lot of badges.
Harrison is easily recognized
by his chunky black-frame glasses,
his witty storytelling, and his ability
to drop into a crowd of strangers
and instantly become best friends
with everyone in the room.
He's been called the outdoor industry's
Hunter S. Thompson. A
beat poet and hippy, he lived in a
school bus retrofitted with a turret
in the 1970s and would recite his
poetry for tips. In 1978, Harrison
pulled his bus up in front of
Wilderness Experience, one of the
nation's first outdoor shops, run by
Eagle Creek founder Steve Barker.
Harrison partnered with Barker,
working as a sales rep for the next
seven years.
Harrison excelled as a salesperson
because of his unique brand of
honesty, connection, and loyalty. He
understood the power of personal
relationships. During the award
presentation, Paul Delorey, president
of JanSport from 1988 to 2002,
beamed in via a recorded video-
wearing lime green sunglasses and
a pink Hawaiian shirt-to deliver a
personal message. Harrison worked
as a sales rep at JanSport for 22
years (1985-2007). " Larry built the
largest sales agency in JanSport's
history, " Delorey said. " You did it
with integrity, always putting the
customer first, and wrapped it in a
keen sense of fun. There's nobody
who deserves a lifetime achievement
award more than Larry. "
During the Inspiration Awards
ceremony, Greg Thomsen, another
industry vet, took a moment to
recognize Harrison. " To inspire on
a one-on-one basis, to take time to
talk to everyone and honestly hand
out encouragement, knowledge, and
support takes a special kind of rare
individual, " said Thomsen. In 2010,
Harrison joined Thomsen to run
sales for the burgeoning Outdoor
division of Adidas. Thomsen recalls
asking Harrison how things were
going. " Good. I talked to 100 dealers
and they all said no, " Harrison said.
Greg asked, " Well, how is that good? "
Larry Harrison,
larger than life
Larry replied, " I'll keep asking until
they say yes. " Ten years later, Adidas
Terrex was worth $75 million.
Thomsen turned the mic over to
Barker to recognize-and roast-
Harrison. Barker told stories about
those early days at the shop ( " He
pulled his bus up in front of the
shop and essentially blocked our
driveway. " ) and how Harrison organized
cross-country races on the
beach to promote a high-end line
of cross-country skis. But he also
recalled how Harrison took immediate
action to fundraise after the
tornado touched down at the summer
show in Salt Lake in 1999. " He
walked around collecting money
for people who had lost everything, "
Barker said. " It was really wonderful
to watch him bring the community
together. "
During his acceptance speech,
Harrison reminded the audience
that in 2011, the first Lifetime
Achievement award was given to
Reinhold Messner, who climbed
Everest without supplemental oxygen
in 1978. " It seems as preposterous
to me as it may to you that we are
receiving the same award, " Harrison
said. " Steve just told you I was a lousy
rock climber. I was a second-rate
mountaineer, but I loved it, " he said.
Steve Barker
Instead, Harrison described himself
as, " a gentleman of commerce " and an
" evangelist for the outdoors. "
Harrison was also the first male
board member for Camber (now
called Outdoor Industry Women's
Council or OIWC), and he's known
for championing marginalized and
underrepresented communities in
the outdoor space. " I take special
delight looking out at this community
we've created here at Outdoor
Retailer, " he said. " In the early days
of this business, it was a whole bunch
of people like Steve and me and Greg
wearing scratchy wool shirts and
beards. And now we're so astoundingly
more diverse. "
Harrison concluded his remarks
by saying the award wasn't about
him at all. " I've always liked that
concept of us. People committed to
one another are stronger. Just like
we are here today. This community
we've created-we inspire others to
find joy in the outdoors and preserve
wildlands for future generations.
So, good on us! "
OUTDOOR RETAILER SUMMER 2022 /
11
LAUREN DANILEK (2)

The Daily - June 11,2022

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Daily - June 11,2022

The Daily - June 11,2022 - Cover1
The Daily - June 11,2022 - Cover2
The Daily - June 11,2022 - 1
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The Daily - June 11,2022 - Cover3
The Daily - June 11,2022 - Cover4
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